File this one under “things we never knew wanted to happen, but thank God they are,” as THR reports that David Gordon Green will direct Nicolas Cage in Gary Hawkins‘ adaptation of Larry Brown‘s novel, Joe. Cage will star as the eponymous Joe, “an ex-con who becomes the unlikeliest of role models to 15-year-old Gary Jones, the oldest child of a homeless family ruled by a drunk, worthless father. Together they try to find a path to redemption and the hope for a better life in the rugged, dirty world of small town Mississippi.”

The “gritty” Southern tale sounds like a return to form for the director, who started his career with such similiarly gritty films like George Washington and Undertow before making the move to more mainstream comedic fare like Pineapple Express, Your Highness, and The Sitter. If this signals a sea change or a happy medium for the filmmaker, we’ll gladly take it (we couldn’t take another Sitter, to be honest).

When asked about the casting of Cage in an “iconic” role, Gordon Green said, “It is with great excitement that I’ve been able to work with Nicolas Cage to design an absolute and unexpected performance piece that is woven from the darkness, beauty, humor and environment of this material.” Have you seen Bad LieutenantPort of Call – New Orleans? Cage can do the hell out of unexpected Southern material.

The film is set to start filmin in November. Of course, this news calls into question just when Gordon Green will get to make his long-planned Suspiria remake, which was last set to start filming this month. Has the film been pushed back, or has he fooled us all again (this is the man who made a film starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch and no one knew it was even happening until it was complete)? Only time will tell.

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